Tag: Arizona Cardinals

Noontime’s NFL Wild Card Predictions

By Matt Noonan

Ah, the National Football League’s (NFL) second season has arrived – are you ready for playoff football

I am and hope you are, as well!

With the Wild Card round set to begin tomorrow — that would be Saturday, January 15, 2022, with a pair of games, — it is time to share some thoughts on all six matchups, as well as make some picks.  

As usual, let us know what you think (of what I predicted below) with a comment or connect with us on social media.

Enjoy the games and make sure to circle back for more football (and maybe, some non-football content?) throughout the weekend. 


Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals (Saturday, Jan. 15 at 4:30 p.m.): Earlier this year, I thought the Silver and Black were going to be one of the toughest teams to beat, especially in the postseason. And despite winning four straight contests, including an-end-of season win against the Los Angeles Chargers, I don’t think their momentum will travel with them to Ohio where quarterback Joe Burrow and the Bengals will be able to score the franchise’s first postseason win since January 6, 1991, against the Houston Oilers. PREDICTION: Cincinnati 30, Las Vegas 20 

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (Saturday, January 15 at 8:15 p.m.): Quarterback Mac Jones exceeded expectations — he played much better than I thought he would as a first-time professional starter. Yet, the former University of Alabama signal-caller has hit the “rookie wall,” which makes me think that these Patriots will have a tough time keeping up with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. PREDICTION: Buffalo 25, New England 13 

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sunday, January 16 at 1 p.m.): Somewhere, Doug Pederson is smiling as his former team somehow secured a playoff spot with an unknown first-year coach named Nick Sirianni. As a Dallas Cowboys fan, I have been impressed with what Sirianni and his staff have been able to accomplish this season — hey, they’re a pretty good running team! But unfortunately, I don’t think this particular Eagles squad will be able to keep pace with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday. Had this matchup pitted the 2017 Eagles against the 2021 Buccaneers, then I would have picked Philadelphia. PREDICTION: Tampa Bay 28, Philadelphia 17 

San Francisco at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, January 16 at 4:30 p.m.): The last time these two teams met, the 49ers beat the Cowboys in the 1994 NFC Championship Game en route to winning Super Bowl XXIX. Could a win on Sunday provide the winning team with the necessary momentum to capture the title next month? It’s possible, but in the end, the team that makes fewer mistakes will win this particular matchup. And as a Cowboys fan, I believe this particular Dallas squad will be ready to make one — maybe two or three more plays than San Francisco to win Sunday’s meeting. PREDICTION: Dallas 28, San Francisco 27 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, January 16 at 8:15 p.m.): Earlier this week, I picked the Chiefs because they will be at home. But these are not the same Chiefs from 2018, 2019, and 2020. I think they’re vulnerable. Additionally, I think the Steelers defense will pose problems for Patrick Mahomes. So, I am taking the road team in an exciting upset win — why not? PREDICTION: Pittsburgh 20, Kansas City 18 

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (Monday, January 17 at 8:15 p.m.): When the Cardinals defeated the Cowboys two weeks ago, it seemed as if their late-season slide was over. But last week, they fell to the Seattle Seahawks in their regular-season finale to secure a matchup with the Los Angeles Rams next Monday. Quarterback Kyler Murray has been inconsistent over the last few weeks. He looked like he was going to have an amazing season in September, but between his up-and-down play, along with some not-so-great plays by the offense and defense over the last few weeks, it would be hard to pick them to beat the Rams. PREDICTION: Los Angeles 30, Arizona 24 

The Early Outlook for the NFL’s Wild Card Matchups

Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders secured a spot in the 2021 NFL Playoffs with an end-of-season victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. (PHOTO COURTESY: Getty Images | New York Post)

By Matt Noonan

The 2021 National Football League’s (NFL) regular season concluded last night.

Now, it is time for the playoffsare you ready?

The 2021 season came down to the final day, as well as its last matchup between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers.

In some way, this season mirrored the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) from the last two seasons (2019 and 2021) where every matchup and week was needed to determine not just divisional winners, but overall seeding for the 14-team playoff.  

Saturday cannot come soon enough – I am eager for yesterday’s excitement to continue. Does anyone know how to hit fast forward in the next few days?

Either way, I am excited – and I hope you are, as well – for some playoff football!

Over the next few days and weeks, Noontime Sports will be keeping its focus on football – consider this some “overtime” coverage from last summer and fall. We will have some op-eds and commentary pieces to previews, along with a piece about quarterback progression (I guess I can thank those armchair quarterbacks calling Boston radio stations!) over the next few days.

Let’s jumpstart the week with some early thoughts on all six Wild Card matchups — have a great day, everyone!

AFC Wild Card Matchups

Los Angeles Raiders (10-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (10-7): The Raiders concluded their 2021 campaign by winning four-straight contests, including back-to-back games against the Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers. The Silver and Black have been quite the story this season – sure, there was some negative press over the first few weeks, but somehow, they managed to go on a late run to secure an opening round meeting with the Bengals. Don’t overlook the Raiders in this matchup.

New England Patriots (10-7) at Buffalo Bills (11-6): The Patriots ended their season with a disappointing setback to the Miami Dolphins – they also lost two other games before their divisional meeting with the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts. But something tells me this was the matchup coach Bill Belichick and his team wanted. They beat Buffalo last month by running the ball and attempting three passes. But a few weeks later, New England struggled to contain quarterback Josh Allen. The rubber match between the Bills and Patriots should be fun!  

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (12-5): The Chiefs may not be the explosive offense they once were – in fact, it seems as if their defense has played better, especially down the stretch. But here’s my question: will this unit be able to stop a Steelers squad that has averaged 17.75 points in their last four outings? My initial answer: yes, but I also wonder if the Pittsburgh defense is good enough to stop Patrick Mahomes?

NFC Wild Card Matchups

Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4): With a big win on Sunday over the Carolina Panthers, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers were able to move up to the second seed, thanks to some help from the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. Tampa Bay is not the same team as last year – they have some issues on both sides of the ball, which makes them vulnerable. Yet, the Buccaneers should be able to win this game, however, they must find a way to stop an impressive Eagles rushing attack led by quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts concluded the regular season with 784 rushing yards on 139 carries and 10 touchdowns while completing 265 of 432 passes for 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns.

San Francisco 49ers (10-7) at Dallas Cowboys (12-5): This is a classic matchup – go ahead and break out those Steve Young and Troy Aikman jerseys. Neither signal-caller will be spotted under center next Sunday, but the 49ers’ offense will provide some challenges for a Cowboys defense that struggled initially at slowing down Philadelphia’s Gardner Minshew and Kenneth Gainwell this past weekend. But while the 49ers’ come-from-behind win yesterday against the Los Angeles Rams was impressive, the question I have heading into this contest is can this defense — San Franciscos’s, to be exact — slow down Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense? This game presents some interesting storylines, as well as features two coaches that used to work together: Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco) and Dan Quinn (Dallas).  

Arizona Cardinals (11-6) at Los Angeles Rams (12-5): Arizona and Los Angeles both scored one win against each other, so like Buffalo-New England, this is a rubber match. To be honest, I did not anticipate this would be a first-round match-up – in fact, I thought Arizona or Los Angeles would be heading to Dallas this weekend. But instead, the Cardinals and Rams will square off once more this season – I am not confident in the Rams’ defense, which struggled to contain the San Francisco offense yesterday, especially in the final minutes. Additionally, will we see a great or subpar Kyler Murray against the Rams? Similar to Dallas-San Francisco, this game also presents some unique storylines.

Noontime’s ‘What If’ NFL Playoff Predictions (Week 10)

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are currently the top team in the NFC. (PHOTO COURTESY: NOLA.com/AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

By Matt Noonan

Another week of the National Football League (NFL) is set to kickoff this evening – are you ready for some football?

Whether you’re eager to watch tonight’s contest between the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans or Sunday’s bounce back win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it is time to dish out our second-straight ‘What If‘ NFL Playoff Predictions for the tenth week of the 2020 season.

Like last week, I will list the current postseason teams in order for both conference, as well as highlight the best opening round matchup (in my opinion!), along with who will win their respective conference crown and yes, the Super Bowl!

Let me know what you think – send me a tweet to @NoontimeSports or an email to MattNoonan@noontimesports.com.

Who’s in the AFC Playoffs?

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-0)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (8-1)
  3. Buffalo Bills (7-2)
  4. Tennessee Titans (6-2)
  5. Baltimore Ravens (6-2)
  6. Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)
  7. Miami Dolphins (5-3)

Who’s in the NFC Playoffs?

  1. New Orleans Saints (6-2)
  2. Seattle Seahawks (6-2)
  3. Green Bay Packers (6-2)
  4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1)
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
  6. Arizona Cardinals (5-3)
  7. Los Angeles Rams (5-3)

Most intriguing first-round matchup:

  • Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs: The Dolphins are trending in the right direction while it appears as if the Chiefs are sleepwalking their way to victory. Sure, this match-up may not occur once the postseason begins, but I would love to see this Dolphins defense against Patrick Mahomes. Most likely, the Chiefs would prevail, but no one should count out these Dolphins, which have scored some impressive wins over the past few weeks.
  • Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals: These two teams have met previously in the postseason, but who wouldn’t want to watch Kyler Murray face-off with Aaron Rodgers? Pending how the rest of the season goes, this matchup could occur, but again, who knows? Both Murray and Rodgers have been players to watch this season, so you know it would be a game every football fan would want to watch next January.

AFC Championship Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Like last week, this is my AFC Championship prediction, but maybe the Baltimore Ravens, Las Vegas Raiders or Miami Dolphins replace one of these two teams listed above? I could also see the Tennessee Titans in the championship game for the second-straight season, but in the end, the Chiefs are the defending champions and will beat the Steelers by a field goal, not a touchdown. PREDICTION: Kansas City over Pittsburgh

NFC Championship Prediction: Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints: The New Orleans Saints are the best team in the NFC – sorry, Seattle Seahawks fans, but your defense needs to improve its defense immediately. Additionally, I don’t think Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go on a deep postseason run – maybe they lose in the opening round to the Philadelphia Eagles in the opening round? – but this matchup would feature two of the best quarterbacks in the game. And in the end, the Saints offense will make a few more plays to beat the Packers and celebrate a conference championship on their home field. PREDICTION: New Orleans over Green Bay

Super Bowl Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs vs. New Orleans Saints: This has the potential for an offensive showcase, but which defense will not break? My answer: the Saints! PREDICTION: New Orleans over Kansas City

Noontime’s ‘What If’ NFL Playoff Predictions (Week Nine)

Heading into the second half of the 2020 NFL season, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are the favorites to win the Super Bowl. (PHOTO COURTESY: CNBC.com/David Eulitt)

By Matt Noonan

The second half of the 2020 National Football League‘s (NFL) season kicks-off this evening with the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Green Bay Packers.

Yet, before we turn our attention to the game, allow me to share the first of many ‘what if‘ posts from Noontime Sports that will highlight the 14 teams in the postseason at the beginning of the remaining weeks of the 2020 season, as well as what teams I (Matt ‘Noontime’ Noonan) believe will win their respective conference crowns.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into our initial ‘what if‘ post for the ninth week of the NFL season!

Who’s in the AFC Playoffs?

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (7-1)
  3. Buffalo Bills (6-2)
  4. Tennessee Titans (5-2)
  5. Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
  6. Indianapolis Colts (5-2)
  7. Cleveland Browns (5-3)

Who’s in the NFC Playoffs?

  1. Seattle Seahawks (6-1)
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)
  3. Green Bay Packers (5-2)
  4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
  5. New Orleans Saints (5-2)
  6. Arizona Cardinals (5-2)
  7. Los Angeles Rams (5-3)

Most intriguing first-round matchups:

  • Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts: The Colts appear to be flying under the radar – yes, their schedule gets tougher, beginning this week with a must-see matchup on Sunday, November 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. Four days later, they’ll take on the Tennessee Titans, so we’ll certainly learn more about Indianapolis over the next week or so, but this team seems equipped to beat the Bills, who squeaked past the New England Patriots last weekend.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Los Angeles Rams: The match-up to watch in this game would be Jared Goff vs. the Buccaneers defense. I am not sure how Goff would do against these Bucs front seven, but I would certainly be interested in seeing how Tom Brady and the offense fared against the Rams defense, too. The Bucs offense – if healthy, of course – could pose serious problems for opposing defenses, not just the Rams, but everyone they would face in the postseason.

AFC Championship Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Chiefs and Steelers are the best teams in the AFC. And most likely, these two teams will be competing in the conference championship. But in the end, Kansas City will prevail, thanks to Patrick Mahomes. PREDICTION: Kansas City over Pittsburgh

NFC Championship Prediction: Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Similar to Kansas City and Pittsburgh, Seattle and Tampa Bay appear to be the best teams in the NFC. The Seahawks defense will need to improve over the next few weeks, especially if they want to stop Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense. PREDICTION: Tampa Bay over Seattle

Super Bowl Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This seems like a logical matchup, especially at the halfway point, right? As much as I would love to see Tom Brady win another ring, I just have a weird feeling – maybe a hunch? – that Kansas City will prevail by at least a touchdown. PREDICTION: Kansas City over Tampa Bay

Alright, that will do it for now, but keep your eyes out for more ‘what if’ Noontime Sports content over the next few days and weeks!

Daily Noontime (Monday, Oct. 26, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Happy Monday, everyone! And welcome to the final few days of October – crazy, right?

We’re eight days away from the election – have you voted? If not, there is still plenty of time. And you can visit vote.org to find out how you can vote.

Noontime Sports (and NoontimeSports.com) is encouraging all of our fans and friends to vote because your voice matters, so please make sure to cast a vote by mail or in-person. And if you do in-person voting, please make sure to wear a mask, social distance, and bring your own pen!

Alright, let’s begin today’s ‘Daily Noontime’ for Monday, October 26, 2020 – have a great day, everyone!

By now, you probably know our beloved New England Patriots suffered a very bad loss yesterday, falling to Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers.

Yes, Jimmy G. looked good – we all enjoyed seeing our former backup quarterback compete against the unhappy Bill Belichick – but what really caught my attention from yesterday’s contest was the following:

  • Jeff Wilson Jr. had no issue running against the Patriots defense – before departing the game with an injury, he rushed for 112 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns.
  • Cam Newton and yes, Jarrett Stidham, both struggled to move the ball down the field – they also combined for four interceptions while the San Francisco defense sacked each signal-caller once.

New England will visit the Buffalo Bills next week for a VERY important divisional matchup.

Buffalo somehow outlasted the New York Jets yesterday, thanks to six field goals by rookie Tyler Bass.

Here are some other news and notes from another bizarre yet interesting day of professional football:

Alright, here is some other news and links from the world wide web: